Maersk testing new route across Arctic

kees torn [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Danish shipping giant Maersk announced on Tuesday they’ll be testing a new route across the Arctic, as the route becomes more navigable due to less ice.

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Maersk announced on Tuesday 21st of August their intention of testing a new route across the Arctic, through the Northern Sea Route. A new ship will soon join the company’s fleet, departing from the port of Vladivostok in Russia, and headed towards St. Petersburg. The new ice-class vessel weights some 42 000 tons and is named “Venta Maersk”, capable of carrying some 3 600 containers.

The company specified this is a one-off trial, meaning they’ll still exploit their usual routes. The goal here is to see if this new route is profitable enough as to exploit it commercially or not, as it allows to reduce the trip by up to 2 weeks, instead of using Suez’s Canal. This route can only be exploited some 3 months a year, the rest of the time being frozen.

The maiden voyage will mainly carry frozen fish and other refrigerated products.

Other shipping companies, rivals of Maersk, such as COSCO, MOL and Russia’s Novatek, have been testing the route for a while now.